History of Unity Center
Back to the beginning…
In 1897, First Universalist Church started Minnesota’s first social service program – the Unity Settlement House, which was located on the near north side of Minneapolis. It provided services for immigrants and low-income persons with employment and social skills. When the house was sold in the 1970’s, an endowment fund was established which became the First Universalist Foundation. It was funds from this foundation that were used to start Unity Summer and support other non-religious social action projects.
Unity Summer was established in 1993, it’s name coming from Unity Settlement House. The congregation envisioned that Unity Summer would creatively address the needs of Minneapolis young people and their larger community. They committed to developing an internship program that would directly serve youth from a wide variety of backgrounds, improve neighborhoods, and aid small, hardworking nonprofit organizations.
In the past seventeen years, Unity has engaged nearly 500 youth with 286 having graduated from its intensive summer internship. Unity has always provided youth a place to learn and act on the skills they need to survive in the world today.
Unity is a secular program founded on the following values: the importance and worth of all people; a commitment to lifelong learning growth and exploration; intentional action based on values; and a lifelong commitment to peace, justice and equity.
Unity Center for Youth Leadership invests in young people as leaders for racial, cultural and social justice, building connections and a lifelong commitment to an equitable world.
Unity Center for Youth Leadership is a dynamic learning community for youth leadership, offering critical scaffolding for learning, action, and reflection that cultivates leadership skills, broadens a vision for justice and equity. Grounded in their understanding of oppression and the impact of racist policies and practices, Unity leaders actively exercise their bold vision of equity in the wider community.
*Unity Center for Youth Leadership is a non-religious program of First Universalist Church